Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black - The Dark Side of the Planet Ocean
Matteo (Bulla) was right with his incredible intuition when, at the end of the article about the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 2016, he forecast that there could be a ceramic-made Planet Ocean among the post-Basel novelties. If we actually think about it, the transformation of the luxury super dive watch (the historic diver is the Seamaster Diver 300M) into an entirely ceramic-made timepiece was something that we could expect, it was the next natural step forward in that unstoppable innovation process that Omega has been experiencing for some time now.
It might be that many of you have visited some online websites where the new Omega Planet Ocean Deep Black collection has already appeared (the official website excluded) but from our side, we have decided to wait a bit longer and to respect the deadline imposed by the official launch of the collection on the Italian market. To celebrate the release of the collection a dedicated event will take place today, we are fully aware that there will always be an inevitable disalignment between the launch of a product on online magazines and its actual release on a specific country market, because the WWW has no boundaries and it often clashes with the market’s trade logic and aspects. To summarize, we can say that Italian fans have already been able to enjoy some live pictures of the Deep Black that have been posted online, despite the fact that the actual timepiece hasn’t been made available in Italian stores just yet.
Before taking a closer look at this timepiece, we should definitely highlight Omega’s courage in launching such an item on the market, the release of a luxury professional diver’s watch with an entirely ceramic-made case (there are other examples out there such as for instance the Blancpain Bathyscaphe Gray Plasma, that are not however in my opinion as "professional" as a Planet Ocean) is a gesture that clearly marks the manufacturer’s strong product and market leadership. On the other hand, however, it could also give way to some professional diving enthusiasts’ doubts as they might think that the ceramic material might not be fit for purpose.
From an industrial point of view, ceramics is a consolidated type of technology that has already been successfully applied on the Dark and Grey Side of the Moon series. It is an extremely well-patented technology and no doubt should arise that it could work perfectly well on this timepiece also, at least from a technical point of view and if you are not one of those people who are stuck with the idea that a diver’s watch could only exist if it has a metal-made case.
Omega has released four new models, two of them sport both a case and a bezel with a completely polished finish (one of them features Sedna Gold-made inserts) while the other two more sporty-looking timepieces feature a matted finish and blue/red accents. These two colours reference in different ways some of the phases of the deep sea diving process and the range of hues that a diver can see while plunging into deep water. Omega’s designers have reminded us that at a depth of 5 metres in the sea one can no longer discern the red colour while after diving to a depth of 275 metres, the only visible colour is blue and that’s the reason why the glowing indexes and thus the main pieces of information that a diver has at their disposal all have a strong reference to the blue hue. One of the interesting characteristics that explain the nature of this collection and the willingness to make it suitable for every use is the presence of an 8906 caliber within this timepiece, the GMT version of the new METAS-certified caliber and not its time-only version.
The case-back is a small jewel in itself; the beehive clasping system represents one of the nicest customizations ever performed on a case-back. After spending years writing articles about case-backs that are all similar to each other – this is a general statement that could apply to every single brand except Rolex – Omega has been the first manufacturer that has managed to come up with a case-back whose opening/closing system hasn’t been designed with a servicing purpose only but it actually displays an aesthetic function also. That particular design could also have a functional aspect since its beehive structure covers the entire circumference and it allows the distribution of the opening and closing force on a larger surface while making the performance of the opening/closing action easier at the same time. There is no confirmation that this special geometric pattern is actually linked to the presence of a ceramic-made structure but if that were the case, it would probably explain the reason why the same beehive structure has been applied to the entire new collection starting off with stainless steel and titanium. Omega has named it Naiad.
The bezel of the two more sporty-looking versions puts together, for the very first time, rubber and ceramic after Omega has presented this combination on the metal-made collections and has generally improved the clicking or “notching” when you turn the bezel. As you can well see in the picture the bezel is that of a diver, therefore the 24-hour-scale for the second time zone has been moved to the inner ring that is the very same colour as the GMT hand's so that you can instantly separate the two reading modes and functions (diving and timezone.)
The Deep Black collection is beautiful, it is endowed with the best technologies currently available and it is also equipped with a caliber that represents the point of reference among industrially-built caliber. The All Black is the collection’s most original model, Omega’s only sports timepiece with a ceramic-made case that doesn’t feature a pair of chrono counters on the dial despite its quite generously-sized case of 45,5mm.
The polished finish fits perfectly well the Liquidmetal-made bezel and the coupling of the polished black colour and the orange hue of the Seamaster and GMT writings that appear on the dial and on the tip of the counter of the second time zone is actually quite original. Two shades of colour and a successful combination that has no resemblance with any other timepiece currently available, something that won’t bore you any time soon. This timepiece is a perfect alternative to a Dark Side of the Moon and it is more sober than the two exceptionally sporty-looking versions with blue and red hues, which are quite attractive and very well finished, but where the pure and simple spirit of a Planet Ocean seems to have somehow disappeared.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter